Busted! $12 Million Stolen from Jewelry Manufacturer

Talk about a golden parachute. When Jacmel Jewelry hired Teresa Tambunting 27 years ago, little did they know that she would steal over $12 million of their gold – right under their noses.

The Scarsdale mom and Vault Manager (of all things) was busted for stealing millions in gold and jewels by slipping them out piece-by-piece in her purse lining, prosecutors said.

The 50-year-old woman hoarded her treasure trove in five-gallon buckets in her basement, according to law enforcement sources.

The theft began to unravel in January, when the company audited its Long Island City headquarters vault and discovered $12 million in inventory missing, Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said.

When Tambunting got wind of the audit, she decided to confess, arriving at work in early February dragging luggage bags filled with some of the stash.

"The first time, she returned one bag with eighty pounds of fine gold. Then, on another occasion (one week later) she came back with another bag," Jacmel president Jack Rahmey told New York Daily News.

"She confessed she had been stealing for some time."

Ummm, yeah.

"With gold trading at nearly $900 an ounce, the defendant is accused of establishing a virtual mining operation in Long Island City which siphoned off millions of dollars' worth of the precious metal from her employer," District Attorney Richard Brown said.

She is expected to argue through her lawyer that she has a form of obsessive compulsive disorder, one source said.

Yeah, she obsessively wanted to get rich and was compelled to bite the hand that fed her.

The Queen of the Cleptos faces up to 25 years in prison, if convicted, and was released on $100,000 bail Wednesday.

What do you think should happen to her? Does sticky finger syndrome deserve 25 years? What about her confession? Should that bear some weight? Weigh in!

Yellow Gold Goes to the Movies

Big movie premieres have been littering the calendar this week, and stunning yellow gold jewelry is almost upstaging the stars themselves.

I’ve been covering the growth of the golden trend all month, and it’s clear the mellow yellow metal push is only going to get more intense in the coming weeks – especially with the May Is Gold Month bonanza underway.

Mom-to-be, Jennifer Garner, lit up the red carpet at her Ghosts of Girlfriends Past premiere in Los Angeles. And Party of Five alum, Lacey Chabert, joined her looking all grown up in an off-the-shoulder gown with a Coomi 20k yellow gold and sliced diamond spring cuff with a matching handbag.

Wolverine fans had more than Hugh Jackman to cheer about. Costar, Lynn Collins, wore H. Stern's Zephyr cuff in 18K yellow gold to go with her stunning red ensemble, and the always lovely Halle Berry one-upped her with her own golden wristwear and a LBD to die for.

Will the woman please have a bad hair day or something so we can all feel better about ourselves?

Across the country at the Tribeca Film Festival Kim Kardashian added jewelry maven to her growing resume, as she stepped out in a gold statement necklace with (you guessed it!) another yellow gold cuff.

And that doesn’t begin to cover all the golden glow. Check out Jewelry.com's Facebook page to see more celebrity gold looks for your drooling pleasure.

And for you sweepstakes fanatics - you know who you are - don’t forget about the May Is Gold Month sweepstakes on Jewelry.com to win your favorite gold jewelry piece.

Yup. There's a gold cuff just ripe for the taking...

Jewelry Shines at Tom Hanks Tribute

When the movie industry honors someone like Tom Hanks, all the heavy hitters come out to play. Everyone from Ron Howard and Steven Spielberg to rocker, Bruce Springsteen, showed up at Lincoln Center last night at the Film Society’s 36th Annual Gala Tribute, and of course the A-list ladies made a glamorous showing for their talented pal.

My jewelry crush, Charlize Theron, resurfaced in a stunning Lanvin little black dress with diamond cluster earrings and an icy cuff to go with her silver python shoes. What can I say? She continues to rule.

While always the effortless beauty, Julia Roberts continues to bore me on the red carpet with a black cardigan over a Dolce & Gabbana white sheath dress (apparently the same one Tom’s publicist wore to the event) and barely-there gold drop earrings. According to Access Hollywood, her tribute speech was anything but dull as she cursed like a sailor and teased the star about some of his flops.

And Rita Wilson – Tom’s better half – perhaps tired of sharing the spotlight with her acclaimed hubbie, wore an attention-getting ensemble that was half Big Bird half Bob Mackie. Good thing she has the gams to pull it off. Showing signs of restraint, she accented the look with a simple diamond cross necklace and classic diamond studs.

The evening consisted of a variety of clips, anecdotes and accolades presented to the two-time Oscar winner, whose celebrated career spans from his Bosom Buddies days on TV and his first collaboration with Ron Howard in 1984's, Splash, to his Oscar winning performances in Philadelphia and Forest Gump and his latest project with Howard, Angels & Demons.

Previous Film Society honorees include Meryl Streep, Dustin Hoffman, Al Pacino, Susan Sarandon, Martin Scorsese, Clint Eastwood, Jane Fonda, Charlie Chaplin and more.

Rihanna’s Rocks Still in Police Custody

It’s bad enough when your boyfriend turns out to be a big loser, but to lose your jewelry on top of it all? Insult? Meet injury.

Pop sensation, Rihanna, is seeking the return of $1.4 million in jewelry she was wearing the night she was allegedly beaten by jerk, I mean, boyfriend, Chris Brown.

Donald Etra, an attorney for the "Umbrella" singer, filed a motion Tuesday asking that Los Angeles police and prosecutors return a pair of earrings and three rings, which were seized as evidence.

The motion states that Brown's attorney, and a Los Angeles Police Department detective overseeing the case, do not object to the return of the items. They have agreed that photographs can be used if the case goes to trial.

The filing includes a general description of the items, saying they all are made of "yellow metal" and all but one includes "white stones."

Leave it to the fuzz to take away any modicum of glam in their diamond description. White stones? Please.

The good news is, Rihanna is not responsible for the jewelry once returned. The filing indicates the baubles were loaned to the singer by four companies, which want the items back for events overseas.

In the meantime, Rihanna is moving on with her life expressing her desire that prosecutors and Brown reach a plea agreement before a trial, but that the 21-year-old singer would testify if called.

Class With the Countess Takes Flight

Gold hoops, diamond studs and an unfortunate bra incident were the fashion highlights when the New York Housewives stepped out to support one of their own this week.

Housewife no more, LuAnn de Lesseps, celebrated the release of her Miss Manners book, Class with the Countess, in New York’s meatpacking district, and everyone but the legally challenged Kelly Bensimon came out to show their support.

And support is what she must really need right now after her surprise split from her husband of 16 years (aka “The Count”) earlier this year.

According to a recent People magazine interview, Luann admits the split has been difficult – especially now that her book is hitting shelves.

“When I wrote the book I felt very secure,” says de Lesseps. “And that’s totally changed.”

The book, which is dedicated to her husband, contains a chapter titled “How to Get a Man to Stay in Love.” Yikes.

So why didn’t her own tips work?

“You can try all you want,” de Lesseps responds, “but if you’re not getting reciprocation from the other person, it’s not your fault.”

Another unfortunate development was fellow housewife, Jill Zarin’s fashion choice for the event. Known for bringing the gasp back to gaudy, Zarin’s usually over-the-top fabric choices are the stuff of legend. This time, she misfired with the dreaded white bra under a mesh top move.

Oh, Jill.

But costar and celebrity chef, Bethanny Frankel, brought out the glam in a diamond collared little black dress with icy studs and the cutest pumps. And Broolynite, Alex McCord, looked lovely in her fringe dress and gold hoops.

The Countess channeled her inner Angelina with an emerald cocktail ring to go with her simple black number, and even brought out her commoner mother to take part in the festivities.

You have to hand it to her – she might cringe when the help doesn't address her properly, but she knows how rock an outfit.

A Jewelry Makeover for Susan Boyle?

From her old timey pearl necklace to her demure ‘never been kissed’ personae, singing sensation, Susan Boyle, has the makings of one helluva makeover story.

The sweet Scottish chaunteuse has the world completely smitten - myself included - and though she wowed the judges and millions of fans with her performance on Britain’s Got Talent, she is just not wowing folks in the fashion department.

I know it’s gauche to say so - we should really love Ms. Boyle for the woman she is – but what’s a Cinderella story without a makeover, right? Would Sandy and Danny have driven their convertible into the sky if “Bad Sandy” hadn’t emerged with bed-head hair and those impossible leather pants? Would Richard Gere have climbed the fire escape for Julia Roberts if she hadn’t ditched the hooker garb for an opera gown and diamonds?

That’s all I’m saying.

The jewelry hound in me can’t help but think there’s gotta be another way for the divine Miss Susan to go than that dowdy pearl strand. We love you, Susan. You can do better.

So for her next performance I'm thinking 'class, class, class'. Simple, elegant sparkle that says, “Single women who live with their cats are fabulous and free.”

Toss the necklace idea altogether. Work the ears, instead, with an elegant earring that will draw attention to her incredible pipes. Maybe add a little something for the wrist.

There is nothing wrong with throwing in a little color, and semi-precious stones are a great way to go to for the spring season. Or. Just stick with gold – like her vocal chords. It’s the metal du jour in this economy and will serve as a harbinger of what is sure to be a gold record in the making – produced by Simon Cowell of course.

What do you guys think? Should she be left alone in the fashion department or is it OK for us to want her to jazz things up a bit? Do you like my jewelry styling angle or is there a better way to go? Weigh in!

Leaves of Change™ Unites Celebrities, Charities and Gold

Let's face it, jewelry hounds. Many folks might mistake us for materialistic fashion addicts who would sell our first born for the chance to wear the Wittelsbach Diamond – or heck anything over five carats.

And, well, they might be right.

But today I’m going to give you a golden opportunity to turn over a new leaf. A gold leaf to be exact.

The World Gold Council just launched their Leaves of Change™ initiative, where they’ve asked a slew of top celebrities to design a gold leaf jewelry piece to be auctioned with proceeds benefiting their favorite charities.

Christina Applegate, Whoopi Goldberg, Marcia Gay Harden, Samantha Harris, Eric McCormack, Debra Messing, Chris Noth, Lena Olin, Rachael Ray, Susan Sarandon, Brooke Shields and Pauletta & Denzel Washington are all participating, and the big auction will take place on May 7th at a gala event in New York City.

But you don’t have to be in the Big Apple to participate. Want to give Mr. Big your vote of confidence? Or maybe you want one of Whoopi’s creations? No problem. The World Gold Council is taking bids right now on all the pieces through their Leaves of Change™ website until May 7th.

“Bringing together highly talented celebrities with renowned jewelry designers will create exciting and innovative gold designs,” says John Calnon, Managing Director for World Gold Council, US. “The simultaneous benefit to multiple charities, especially in such difficult economic times, makes for a meaningful and lasting impact.”

Combining jewelry and star power is the perfect way to get the jewelry hound in all of us to step away from the fashion mags and give back for a good cause. And let’s not forget that gold is the metal of choice these days for fashionistas and celebs alike.

Good karma that begets good jewelry fashion. President Obama would be so proud.

Jewelry Style in TV Land

From Teri Hatcher to Loretta “Hot Lips” Switt, a gaggle of TV stars from today’s hits and yesterday’s favorites rocked the red carpet for the taping of the 7th annual TV Land Awards in Los Angeles last weekend.

You have to love an awards show where the likes of Greg Brady and Al Bundy rub elbows, Matthew McConaughey gives an award to the Magnum P.I. cast and Cyndi Lauper does a musical tribute to H.R. PufnStuf.

You also have to love a red carpet full of women who still look smashing after a few decades away from the spotlight. The Knots Landing cast was honored with the “30th Anniversary Award”, and the show's stars - Donna Mills, Joan Van Ark and Michele Lee - emerged as if they had been frozen in time and de-thawed for the occasion.

Yellow gold continues to shine bright on stars like Julia Louis Dreyfuss, ER veteran, Alex Kingston, and sister of Corky, Kellie Martin.

And diamond divas included Reba McIntyre, Teri Hatcher and The Cougar host, Vivia Fox (despite my vow to resist adding any more reality shows to the lexicon, I don’t think I can resist The Cougar’s pull).

This year's honorees also include Don Rickles, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, M*A*S*H, Married With Children, ER and Home Improvement, to name just a few.

While it’s impossible to highlight all the TV icons who showed up for the festivities, you should set your DVRs for Sunday, April 26th at 8 p.m. on TV Land where you can catch all the stars in action.

And if you need a dangling carrot, I’ve got six words for you:

Cyndi Lauper in a Witchiepoo costume.

Are You A Gold Digger?

Jewelry hounds, we’re entering the busy season. With Mother’s Day, weddings, prom, graduation and beach weather right around the corner, we’re faced with a perfect storm of jewelry gift opportunities. And let’s not forget about our favorite verb: “self-gifting”.

Thankfully, some major players in the industry have thought about our plight and are giving us a glittering break. The World Gold Council and Jewelry.com celebrated the sixth anniversary of May Is Gold Month last week and launched a whole slew of programs offering gold jewelry savings starting now through the month of May.

From a gold cross for grandma to gold hoops for your graduate, Jewelry.com has hundreds of gold jewelry styles available at the price points we love to see these days. And their stash comes from the most trusted retailers around (Kay Jewelers, Zales, JCPenney to name a few).

One last tip: Jewelry.com launched a May Is Gold Month sweepstakes - it’s the kind you can enter every day to better your chances (like the HGTV Dream Home – Why I didn’t win this year is beyond me). There are nine gold jewelry pieces on display – all very cool – you just click on the image you like, bing bang boom - and you’re in there.

So check out the May Is Gold Month bonanza on Jewelry.com and let me know how you make out. There’s nothing wrong with gold digging, Kanye. If you do it the right way.

Anatomy of a Jewelry Crush

Jewelry crushes come into my life every so often. My most recent bout was with glamazon goddess, Charlize Theron. From the first row at fashion week to her high falutin’ party wear, the woman rocked my jewelry world every time she stepped out for a while there. But my heart has been missing something now that she isn't making the rounds much these days.

Enter: Drew Barrymore.

Jewelry crushes are fickle, folks, let’s face it.

I don’t know what that Grey Gardens shoot did to the woman, but she appeared every bit the refreshed focused fashion maven on everything from morning talk shows to red carpet round ups. The hair, the make-up, the dresses – it’s all working for her right now. And she’s sporting some fantastic jewelry looks every step of the way.

So I just wrote about Drew’s Grey Gardens premiere ensemble in New York. Not a lot of jewelry here, but you don’t need it when you’ve got hundreds of Swarovski crystals intricately sewed onto your couture Alberta Ferretti gown. AND you have a bejeweled clutch and a little diamond hair clip with a net.

You have net? You go with ‘less is more’ in the jewelry department.

Then I spotted pictures of the star at the taping of David Letterman. Again. Stunning. On any other person this black Giambattista Valli ensemble might have been too much. But on Drew? Perfection. And the gold flower earrings are the right amount of sparkle for the occasion.

Cardinal jewelry crush rule number one: Know when to tone it down and know when to bring it.

Will you take a look at the Los Angeles Grey Gardens premiere pics? Wow. Talk about statement jewelry. Some of you might query - Does she really need the huge jade earrings, the grapefruit sized turquoise cuff and its orange-sized ring sister with an Abdrew GN dress that already has a bejeweled neckline?

I say 'yes', jewelry hounds. It isn’t diamond overload – it’s turquoise. It’s trendy, it’s fun, it’s LA, it’s fantastic.

And the bed head hair is totally working for me.

Ok. Big. Deep. Breath.

I’m not sure what I’ll do now that the PR push for Grey Gardens is winding down, but I do know that I’ll keep my jewelry crush to one hair shy of stalker proportions. Not to worry, Drew. Just don't be a drop out like Theron, and we're cool.

Are you guys with me on this? Or do I need an intervention?